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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Alarm systems are designed to alert police when there’s trouble at your home or office. Sometimes… that’s not the case.

If your home or office alarm accidentally goes off, you’ll find a warning hanging on your door. It’s from Wilmington Police Department, telling you that if they have to respond to a false alarm a second time, you’ll be charged $50.00.

“We answer 14,000 alarm calls a year. 99 percent of them are false. So, you know, we’re like every other agency out there. We’re having to do more with less. This is just one area that we were trying to improve upon. We could free up some time for police officers to do things out on patrol like fighting crime and not answering false alarms, and we just shouldn’t be there.” Captain Jeff Allsbrook said the first false alarm is a freebie, but every time after that, you’ll be billed for the beeps.

One Wilmington resident thinks there’s an easier solution.

“The Police can prioritize certain responders to stuff like that. Because, you know, if it keeps going off, then, just ignore it, you know, that’s their problem.” Jeremy Hall has an alarm system but says he’s never accidentally tripped it.

Allsbrook understands that some people do have accidents, but said all the police ask is that you let them know if it’s not a true emergency. Since November, 70 to 100 homes and businesses per week have been charged $50.00 each for false alarms. The fine money goes into the general fund for the city.

“We’re not looking to make money on this, we’re trying to reduce the number of false alarms and free up patrol time for our officers to be out there in the neighborhoods and fighting crime, doing things they should be doing.” Allsbrook said WPD is still working out some kinks, and if you are billed for the first false alarm, you can appeal.

Captain Allsbrook said you will not be billed if your alarm system goes off because of a power outage or natural disaster.

Comment on this Story

  • WilmResd

    Not a way to make money? I find that hard to believe. I do not understand that is there job to respond to alarms whether false or real. It would be like a Doctor saying the first time you make a visit and nothing is medically wrong you will pay the regular billing fee, but if you return and the doctor checks you again and nothing is wrong you will have to pay a higher fee. Plus the city fined the County for responding to schools that are county schools but in the city. What is next they are going to start charging citizens a filing fee if they call to file a police report. Oh wait that is doubtful because the city rarely takes reports so they can keep there reported crime rate down! It is part of their job they knew that signing up, why can’t they do it?

  • Guest

    As a former ADT customer, I have to put in my say. Yes, from experience my alarm system did go off multiple times accidentally driving the dog nutts and anyone who could hear it. The Problem was with the ADT service and their unskillful technicians not hooking the monitoring system up the right way. It shouldn’t go off for no reason, so basically, its the ADT’s problem and not the customer, which is why I disconnected the monitoring system.

  • guesty

    From the story: “The Police can prioritize certain responders to stuff like that. Because, you know, if it keeps going off, then, just ignore it, you know, that’s their problem.”

    Like, no, you know, I don’t like know, you know.

  • Guest

    So how does the PD verfity that it is a false alarm vs a real alarm where the perp has left the scene before they arrived? Some one tries the door and sets off the alarm then flees, the PD arrives and ASSUMES it was a false alarm and charges you? Seems like a money making proposition to me. The city can’t lose. Do you really think there are 15000 false alarms or are their 14000 false alarms and 1000 real ones where the perp isn’t caught at the scene? Just how does the city intend to prove it was a false alarm? Lack of a perp does not indicate a false alarm.

  • WilmMan

    I think it’s a great idea, but they should change it a little. Anytime the alarm goes off, there should be someone from the residence or business that must respond also. If there isn’t, that is when the fine should be given. If LEO meets with the business owner or home owner, then there shouldn’t be a fine.


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